The Morokodo are an ethnic group numbering over 40,000 people living in the South Sudanese state of Western Equatoria. They speak Morokodo language, a Nilo-Saharan language.
Demography and Geography
Numbering a little over 40,000, the Moro Kodo people are found in central Equatoria. Their important towns and settlements are Amadi, Mundri and Yeri.
Moro Kodo land consists of rugged plains with isolated outliers of hard granitoid rocks. It is dissected by deep valleys in which flow numerous perennial streams draining into the Nile. The climate is tropical with annual rainfall sustaining a vegetation of thick forests and extensive agricultural practice.
The Morokodo are essentially sedentary agrarian community. Their main economic activities include cultivation, hunting, fishing and bee-keeping. They also keep few cattle, goats and fowl. The main crops are sorghum, simsim, groundnuts, shea oil and tobacco. The area has high potential in timber (mahogany and other hard wood), shea, bamboos, etc.
The bulk of the Moro Kodo people have no idea of their origin. Nothing in their tradition points to their origin as a people. However, they have a strong sense of their identity and will not shy away from making it clear that they are different from the other Moru clans.
The Morokodo speak a language different from Moru language although most of them speak Moru.
Moro Kodo society is organised into agnatic lineages made up of clans and families. They have strong social norms that bind them together and which serve in one way or the other as forms of identity marking them differently from other Moru clans.
The moral standard of Moro Kodo is decidedly on a higher level. This is for the sake of virtue and chastity as well as a traditional safeguard against social laxity. They practice a marriage system (dakpatar) which prohibits sexual intercourse until the marriage procedures have been completed and the bride is handed over officially in a ceremony marked by feasting and merriment. The respect for in-laws is exceptionally strict that no close contact is tolerated. As part of the marriage customs the groom discretely brings to his in-laws fish, game meat and other valuables.
The new born and the mother are secluded for 3 (male) and 4 (female) days after which it is brought out in a ritual whereby the elders shout out its name and what they would want to wish it in life.
Mourning death lasts for 3 (man) to 4 (female) days. On these days the clan gathers to perform certain rites befitting the status of the deceased. The compound remains unattended to during mourning until the last day when an old women (not sexually active) performs the last funeral rite is the compound then swept and cleansed. Mourning an important person like a chief, medicine man or women takes the form of celebration in which the people feast.
The Moro Kodo are great hunters and fishermen. They stalk game by waiting for them at water points, in grazing areas or on tree branches in case of larger games such as elephants and buffaloes. They have perfected the art of making arrows.
The Moro Kodo have evolved a strong chieftainship. Moro Kodo’s chieftainship is hereditary along the male line. However, to be appointed a chief, the character and social behaviour of the person is a determinant factor. The prospective chief is prepared and groomed from childhood.
Moro Kodo practice witchcraft extensively as a way of keeping social order and harmony. They believe that if one did something bad the spirits would visit on one such bad disease such as leprosy (odra), distended abdomen (gbari) and therefore, this acts as a restraint to crime.
The culture of Moro Kodo is oral, reflecting virtue and high moral standards. It is expressed in songs, dance, music, folklore and other bodily expressions. The Moro Kodo people have evolved different types of musical instruments used for different types of music to which the people dance and sing in times of pleasure as in engagements and marriage celebrations; or in times of sorrow as in funerals and funeral rituals. They also have seasonal dances.
The Moro Kodo neighbour other Moru clans like the Lakamadi, Mbiti and Kadero, Wira and Moru Meza. They also neighbour the Jur ‘Beli with whom they have close historical relationship. The Moro Kodo have cordial relationship with their neighbours.
The Moro Kodo are land-locked and as a result have been kind of marginalised. Nevertheless, they also have been affected by the war.
There are few members of the Moro Kodo fraternity in the diaspora mostly in East Africa and the Congo.